Good Writing = Pain Free Reading

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”


So. You’re interested in writing?

  • Are you missing an opportunity because your written communication is letting you down?
  • Is your business suffering from an inability to communicate?
  • Can you describe what you do in a concise and appealing way. The elevator pitch. A cliché but it is true.
  • Can you describe what you do in a way that engages interest?
  • Or would it take every flight of stairs in a fifty storey building to explain what you do?

Everyone Communicates

Everyone uses words to communicate. Some do it better than others, but in our experience most writing fails to achieve its potential – business communication, CVs, letters, job applications, press releases. The list is endless and so is the failure to communicate effectively. Social media has made it worse. The immediacy of it means the message is out there, often without thought or meaning.

Finding Your Voice

Finding a voice means that you can get your own feeling into your own words and that your words have the feel of you about them. Seamus Heaney, Feeling Into Words

Organisations can benefit from better writing. If you are up for it, we will take your communication, rewrite it and help you understand what was wrong with it in the first place.

Organisations will spend loads of money on print, design, PR advice, web design – but all too often the written words that are the bedrock of communication are neglected.

The result? You fail to communicate your brand or you cannot explain your product. Large organisations slip into bureaucratic jargon that looks great but when you read it? It is meaningless.


Experience includes journalism, public relations, social media, blogging, SEO, advertising, corporate publications, direct mail, writing for the web, speeches, CVs and covering letters, job applications and funding applications. If it can be written down – we are fairly confident that we can do it and if we can help you we will.

Why Do We Do This?

Much corporate writing is cold, unappealing – it doesn’t whet your appetite and in fact the person who write it probably found is a chore in the first place. Why then anyone expects you to read it is a mystery.

Writing can be much more interesting. Enjoyable even. Reading it becomes enjoyable too. Well we enjoy it – we can turn tales of morbidity and mortality into reader friendly stories of sickness and death.


Eight Steps to Communication Success

The Illusion of Communication

‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’

George Bernard Shaw

Communicate Well

Most organisations communicate badly. The senior management are usually blind to this problem, they think they are doing a great job, issuing information. So, it is down to the hapless communications person to address these issues.


1            What do we need to accomplish? What is the objective/need

2            How can communication help?

3            What do we need to communicate?

4            With whom do we need to communicate? (Audience segmentation)

5            What tools do we use?

6            In what order do we communicate with our audiences?

7            Measure: Define what success will look like?

8            Carry out the plan. Listen for response/track effectiveness.

Adjust as required.



Idiot’s Guide to Meetings

Ten Steps to Meeting Success

I should know, when I worked in the University of Ulster I once spent over forty hours in  a single month in meetings. In some organisations, this is what passes for productivity. If you have to attend meetings, then you need to make them productive.

Golden Rule 1 – if it doesn’t need a meeting then why have a meeting?

Staff can spend hours in meetings. This is often unproductive time especially if the meeting is not well chaired. Here are ten steps to meeting success.

Before the Meeting

  • Identify the overall objective of the meeting.
  • Determine the most appropriate attendees. Make sure there are enough people to meet the meeting’s objectives. Also, make sure you have the right people in the room – no point realising you should have asked someone half ways through the meeting.
  • Sound out critical attendees in advance to get their buy-in. Ono-to-one discussions before a meeting may help you rethink your position or help build understanding and support for your ideas.
  • Produce and distribute a written agenda in advance. Limit the agenda to issues affecting the group. Include meeting logistics – time, venue, attendees, call-in or video conf information, discussion topics and discussion leader if possible.

During the Meeting

  • Start on time and review agenda. Outline how long you think meeting will last and plan accordingly. Try to stick to your time estimate.
  • Proceed to discuss each issue. Retain focus and progress logically:
  • Stating the issue
  • Discussing the data/information – getting opinions round the table
  • Reaching a conclusion
  • Planning a course of action with nominated responsibilities

7         Avoid the following non-productive behaviours:

  • Letting one or two monopolize discussion
  • Rehashing old ground after you reach agreement
  • Jumping from topic to topic without agreeing anything
  • Leaving the next steps unclear

8         Conclude by briefly restating what has been agreed, outline next steps and accountabilities.

After the Meeting

 9         Finalize and distribute the notes/minutes to all attendees and copy any interested parties. List key actions and who is responsible and by when.

10         Follow up on action items from the meeting.


Go and sit in a darkened room.

Crisis Comms Some Notes

Spokesperson Guidelines for Communicating with the Media during a Crisis

  • Be aware of the constant movement of news via social media. Twitter can fill the timelines with inaccurate information quickly.
  • Have your social media team briefed on the situation, on hand and able to monitor and respond.
  • Fill the void yourself. If there is a likely gap between communicating the actual situation and the first enquiries – give the media some background on your organisation. Are you aware of the us and what we do and can we give you some background. Etc etc
  • Demonstrate organizational concern about people. “Our primary concern at present is the health of our students…”
  • Explain what is being done to remedy the situation.
  • Keep the message consistent with all constituencies. Never tell one constituency anything that is not being told to the media.
  • Be open, honest, and tell the full story. If you do not, someone else will, thus increasing the possibility that the crisis team loses control of the situation.
  • Never respond with “no comment,” instead explain why you cannot answer the question. (i.e., we do not have those details confirmed at this time, we will provide you with an update when we do have an answer to that question.)
  • Do not guess or speculate. If you do not know the answer, say so and offer to track down the answer.
  • Respect reporter deadlines. If you promise to get information, do so promptly.
  • Don’t get drawn into blaming other organizations or being seen to shift the responsibility.
  • Never speak off the record. The media can use any information released.
  • Never give exclusive interviews during a crisis. All members of the media should have the chance for gathering information.
  • If an injury or death has occurred, do not release the name(s) of the injured/deceased until all next of kin (immediate family) have been notified.
  • Do not provide damage estimate, discuss responsibility for the incident, or discuss legal liability in any way.
  • Be available 24 hours a day.
  • Do not discuss illegal activity at any time. If it is assumed, say “Police are investigating. We are cooperating.” Refer all questions to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • In cases when media request interviews with family members, provide a liaison to family members for the media so that the family can protect their privacy if they choose.
  • Avoid “side comments” meant to be humorous. Do NOT accept hypothetical questions. Do NOT repeat negatives in a question. Taken out of context, these remarks can be very damaging.
  • Use everyday language, not jargon, when talking to reporters.
  • Provide written materials that give reporters background information.